Sick bay

Sick bay is the nautical term for the hospital aboard a ship. During the 1960's, Pharmacist Mates or Corpsman took care of the daily calls for care for the men of the destroyer at sea. The sickbay was able to support both minor surgery and apply first aid to sailors that may be sick or injured. More advanced needs for medical care or injuries of a serious nature would be taken care of by a larger ship in which the patient would be initially treated on the Destroyer and then sent at sea by highline, in many cases, to a larger ship with better hospital facilities. Any serious emergency operations would be undertaken on the Wardroom table in the officer's wardroom due to the ample space available. The Water King (typically a machinist mate) had to deliver potable water samples to sick bay on a daily basis, where a corpsman would do a bacteria count for each of the four potable water tanks. While this is the main medical space on the ship, the wardroom (forward battle dressing station) and the barber shop (after battle dressing station) served as care facilities as well.

This compartment on the ship included medicine cabinets and racks, a folding operating table, surgical lamp, emergency lighting, a locked cabinet for controlled substances such as morphine and alcohol, an autoclave instrument sterilizer, and a deep sink.

Routinely each day, "Sick Call" was announced in which sailors would head down to meet with the medical personnel to treat any ailments they may have. Folklore suggests that many a sailor would head down with a made-up ailment in hopes of getting out of work for the day. Reportedly, the Pharmacist Mate's would give them an aspirin and tell them to report for duty!


Looking into Sickbay


Looking to Port